Thursday, February 13, 2014
The Battle of the Moms
Every so often, one of my Facebook friends shares an article or blog post about being a stay-at-home mom vs. being a working-outside-of-the-home mom. And no matter how well (or poorly) written the piece is, the comment section always seems to devolve into a battle of "Stay-at-home moms have the hardest job," "No way! Working moms have it much harder!" Even a recent blog post in which the author wrote two letters - one from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom, and one from a working mom to a stay-at-home mom, with each praising the other and acknowledging that the other has a difficult job - ended up with comments in which one reader said that moms who work outside of the home are doing it because they only care about their own best interest and aren't real moms, and another reader characterized stay-at-home moms as people who get drunk while wearing their pajamas and watching Oprah. And the only question I have is this: when did motherhood become a competitive sport? Is someone handing out medals in the Mommy Suffering Olympics and nobody told me?? Because if not, I can't quite figure out why it's so very important that we tell other people that we're pretty sure we're working just a little harder at this mommy thing than they are.
Listen, we've all encountered a few one-uppers in our lives. You know the people I mean: you say that you're having a bad day because your car wouldn't start and you burnt breakfast and stubbed your toe, and they respond with, "Oh yeah?? That's nothing! Last week a tornado blew off my roof and my parakeet died and my great aunt got her foot run over by a steam roller!" Or you break your leg, and they have to tell you about the time they broke both legs and a pinky toe. Or you post on Facebook that both of your kids have chicken pox and lice, and then someone you hardly know comments to tell you about the time that all five of her quintuplets had measles and croup and then while she was trying to care for her children, her arm fell off for no good reason. But here's the universal thing about one-uppers: they drive everybody crazy, and they don't make anybody feel better.
All moms, everywhere - whether they work outside of the home or stay at home with their children, whether they work from home or work part time or work but take their kids to work with them - ALL moms have rough days. All moms have things about their lives that they like and things that they don't especially care for. All moms have days where they're glad to be doing exactly what they're doing and other days where they can't help but be ever-so-slightly envious of moms whose situation is just a little bit different. But IT'S NOT A COMPETITION! Nobody gets a tiara and a sash for being the mom who really - no, really - has it harder than you do. And nobody is handing out cookies at the end of the day because, congratulations, you officially had a more difficult day than the mom down the street. So it's really not necessary to establish once and for all that one "type" of mom is officially and for all time the hardest-working, least-appreciated group of moms in the history of the planet, because nobody is going to throw a parade for you if you "win" by having it worse than everybody else.
So moms, if you love your children, if you try really hard to make the best possible decisions for your kids (and sometimes you even succeed at it,) if you do everything you can to make sure that your children's needs are met (and maybe a few of their "wants," too), then congratulations - you are an AMAZING, hard-working, oh-so-spectacular mom. Now go get yourself a cookie. And maybe a tiara. You deserve it, Mama.
PS - Good dads are also awesome people. I just needed to add that because the other thing that always happens in the battle field that is the comment section is that somebody pipes up with "what about dads???? We do stuff, too!!" Yes you do, daddies. Keep up the good work!